If you’re wondering why “Despacito” is trending on Twitter under politics of all categories, join the club. And let's preface this with one thing: No, this is not an introduction to a new Tiktok dance, it’s because of Donald Trump. It’s always because of Trump.
Just after midnight on Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted a 27-second video of Joe Biden’s recent visit to Kissimmee, FL. “What is this all about?” he wrote in a tweet alongside the video. The clip in question shows Biden reaching for his phone to share something with the audience. “I just have one thing to say,” Biden says as he looks down. He holds his phone up to the microphones and N.W.A.’s notorious ‘80s hit “Fuck tha Police” begins to play as Biden dances along. Trump tweeted the same video again later this morning with the caption, “China is drooling. They can’t believe this!”
China is drooling. They can’t believe this! https://t.co/AAmBGgHhyR— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020
As much comedic value as Biden bopping along to N.W.A. inherently has, the video is, in Trump's own words "fake news." The real clip comes from Biden’s event to meet with Puerto Rican voters in the southern swing state. After introductions by music stars Ricky Martin and Luis Fonsi, the Democratic candidate took the stage. The “one thing” he had to say was actually Fonsi’s 2017 mega-hit “Despacito.”
But this didn't stop Trump from disseminating his own version of the events. Both tweets were reposts from an account called The United Spot. The clip includes the opening verse by Ice Cube which includes the uncensored use of the n-word and the lyric, “police think they have the authority to kill a minority.” It was quickly labeled “manipulated media” by Twitter, but not before it had been viewed over two million times, reports the Washington Post.
Despite the obvious and proven manipulation from Trump, the version of the video he tweeted only further allows the president to repeat his accusations that Biden is anti-law enforcement and plans to defund the police. A quick fact check: Biden has no plans to defund the police, and has frequently condemned many of the protests involving property damage.
Using memes and doctored videos of Biden is a regularly employed tactic for Trump and his campaign for reelection. On Tuesday, Trump shared a tweet that accuses Biden of being a pedophile, replete with the hashtag #PedoBiden. Trump has even used doctored footage of Biden (or other nefarious things) in his own official campaign videos, usually dubbing them as "Joe Biden's America," ignoring the fact that most of what he is showing was filmed literally during Donald Trump's America.
Twitter has taken a more serious stance on the social media platform as of late. On numerous occasions, Twitter has labeled videos shared by Trump and his campaign as “manipulated.” Earlier this month, Twitter announced its plan to aggressively crack down on misinformation spread on its platform. According to the company’s statement, it will now censor false or misleading claims relating to the election which means that Trump can no longer spew whatever he wants without the risk of Twitter fact-checking him. And this now includes — and I never thought I would write this sentence — Trump's retweets of Joe Biden dancing to N.W.A.
But, alas, almost as if social media was a Whoville full of Whovians singing in spite of the Grinch’s efforts to steal Christmas, platforms far and wide lit up with their own imagined version of what Biden played on that debate stage. In response to Trump's fake video, several other memes showed Biden jamming to some unlikely rally hits, including Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP.” And while many may wish that Biden did actually dance to "Fuck tha Police" during a rally speech, at least we now have a fake video to re-imagine what could have been.